If you’ve been watching The Handmaid’s Tale – the dramatization of Margaret Atwood’s iconic novel of the same name – I am sure you will feel this statement as powerfully as I do. I would like to stand on the edge of a mountain and scream it as loudly and proudly as my lungs could muster (there’s me in the picture on the edge of a cliff face in Kalbarri National Park, Australia, blissfully enjoying my freedom to hike, climb and take on the world).
No one gets to define a woman’s role, purpose, lifestyle or identity but that woman herself. And it will be unique for each and every woman. Accept no limitations or expectations imposed by others. This experience – this wide, varied, multi-faceted experience – of life is ours to own for ourselves.
Whatever your choices in life – your fashion style, your career, as a mama, as a single woman who is not a mama (by choice or otherwise), your relationships, how often you clean your house, what type of book you read, your pastimes (and you’ll get no judgement from me, only applause) – make sure they are choices that you want, made by an authentic you.
No one tells me where my place is.
Watching The Handmaid’s Tale makes me very grateful to have the liberty that I do (and leaves me heartbroken to think a woman ever had to, or continues to, endure such horror) but it reminds me that there are places in our supposedly advanced society where we still fall short of complete equality and acceptance. The Handmaid’s Tale shows us the unnerving potential for such shadowy prejudices and misogyny that remain to take hold.
I think a good place to start is for women to completely love, accept and encourage each other despite any differences there may be between us on occasion. We can build such a strong foundation of unity that we can claim what is rightfully ours for ALL women everywhere: the right to live as we choose, and be what we choose.
This is by no means solely a female issue. Many diverse people are not fully accepted, a huge percentage of them being men. But, as a woman, the issue of a women’s rights speak deeply to me; I want to reach out to all my sisters out there and say that I acknowledge you, I support you and (so long as you do no harm) you have the right to do whatever the fuck you want to do with your life and be respected in your choices. Don’t ever forget it.
And – just because I couldn’t resist it – this is for all those who know what I am talking about: “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.”